A Snowboarder’s Unbelievable Tiny House
Mike Basich was a snowboarding pioneer. But after hundreds of competitions that brought money and fame, he went in search of something different. Welcome. Thank you. It’s such a rush just to get up here. When did you first get into snowboarding? My mom was always looking for something different and fun for us to try out, so that’s how we discovered it. And the sport had no rules. And that’s where– that kept us in it, because no one was telling us what to do. Oh! Ouch! From 7 to about 14 years old, I had epilepsy.
And so being different than everyone else, you felt at home. That’s something my parents drove into me every day, saying it’s OK to be different. I just tackle things that way. Well, welcome. Wow. This is the inside. It’s beautiful. How long did it take for you to build this place? It took me five years– two and a half years to do all the rock work. I think I moved about 175 ton of rock. Every piece of cement was hand mixed, and gathered the water for it by hand, as well. God, it’s such a labor of love. You get to do fun things. This is actually a shower here. And it’s a seat in the daytime. But you get to use– it’s a bit camping style. No shower curtain, just out in the open. Pouring water, sitting down. I’ve got a little oven, which the door’s from the junkyard. And bought a nice little fireplace, which is my cooking, heating water, warming the place. So that’s the central attention for the utilities. Yeah. This is it. Where are you getting your water? Yeah, this is creek water, which I have two creeks on the property.
Mike, where do you sleep? I’ve got the loft as my bedroom– very different than anywhere else I’ve lived. I go to bed with the sun, and I wake up with it. I don’t feel like I’m trying to race time. In a city, you always feel like you’re on a rat race. And here, it feels like you’re in sync with what’s actually happening. So this was your dream. Since you were a little boy, you’ve been wanting to do this. This is my dream and reality, 40 acres to do whatever I want with. It’s really fun. Tell me when you first started getting into that competitive circuit.
Competitive circuit was right off the start. The World Cup, traveled the world a bunch– I’d be in a different country almost every weekend. Worked my body hard. I was making about $170,000 a year. Played it pretty smart. I bought my first house, 4,000 square-foot house– huge– because I went for the American dream. I bought the big house and had a fancy car. It didn’t do anything different for me. It just took up time. We started getting sponsors that didn’t have anything to do with snowboarding. You started dealing with people that didn’t really care about your imagination. I let go of the competition 15 years ago, at least. I do a lot through photography through snowboarding, so that’s been my outlet versus the competition. And that’s how I end up in the back country.
Where did the decision come from to build this place off the grid? Nature inspires me, and that’s why I choose this kind of environment. I want to learn how to live off the grid, have appreciation for nature, and how to keep the rain off my head, stay warm. Wow. This is breathtaking. This glass is definitely a heating tool for me. It faces south, so it’s a great space to have that much glass. Not a bad view. Not a bad way to wake up. This is the great outdoors. I got a chairlift over here that’s super fun to ride. You built that? Yeah, it took me about eight months with some friends. You get to ride all this terrain here, which is super fun. This is your giant playground right here. Yeah, this is my own private resort. There’s a water source on this pillar, water falls into the hot tub. So you don’t have a toilet in your house, but you have a hot tub.
Yep. How did you come up with the design for the home? The design’s built on the golden ratio. Building under that law of nature is supposed to make the space feel more fit to the body. This one is a pentagon, which if you connect all those dots, you get a star. And that’s what the star you saw on the window represents.
It casts a shadow on the floor, which is another smaller pentagon. And they all meet at on my birthday. That was how it all came down to a personal building for me. I’ve ended up here off the road, off the beaten trail, and loving it. I like to think of it as getting back to the basics of humanity. I like feeling connected to the Earth more than I could with a 4,000 square-foot house.
So it gave me the strength of doing everything myself, and the lessons, and a childhood dream that I wanted to fulfill. And that’s what this project of this house was about, was to fulfill a childhood dream. In the next episode of “Going Off Grid,” we meet a family that left everything behind. We carry water for the shower, just like we carry everything, in a basin. And we heat up water on the propane torch, mix that together with cold water until we have the temperature right.
And then that mix , we’ll run through a hose downhill to the shower. “Going Off Grid” is a part of “Seeker Stories.” Thanks for watching..
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